This proud past makes Picardy the original French region, not
only for its historical buildings and monuments, but also the premier region for its
numerous Gothic cathedrals.
The name of Picardie first appeared in the XIIIth century. The
origin of this name would appear to be pique (pike), the once preferred weapon of the
Picards, which were then famous for being very aggressive.
The old feudal domains of Amiénois (now department of Somme) and Vermandois (now the
north of the department of Aisne) were incorporated into the royal domain in 1185 and
In 1299, Picardie was constituted of the bailiwick (bailliage) of Amiens, subdivided into
the provostships (prévôtés) of Amiens, Beauquesne, Doullens, Montreuil and
The bailiwick of Lille, established in 1304, was initially independent of Picardie.
King Philippe de Valois conquered Ponthieu in 1336, which had been incorporated to the
kingdom of England in 1272. And in 1350, the Valois kings of France made Picardie a
military province, but they had to return Ponthieu to England in 1360.
In 1435, Picardie (including Ponthieu) was ceded to the duchy of Burgundy by the treaty of
Arras, and the province of Picardie disappeared. In 1477, after the death of the
Duke of Burgundy, Charles le Téméraire, Louis XI invaded Picardie.
Picardie was increased in the XVIth century by the 'reconquested lands', around the cities
of Calais and Boulogne. The fortified cities of Picardie ( Amiens, Abbeville, Corbie,
Montdidier, Péronne, Roye) constituted the defence line of the northern border of France
until the incorporation of Artois in 1659 by the treaty of the Pyrénées.
And as you can tell, Picardie has had a bloody history since time began!
The modern region of Picardie is larger than the historical province of Picardy.
The south of the Aisne department and most of the Oise department were historically part
of the province of Île-de-France, while the Somme department and the north of the Aisne
department were the province of Picardy proper.
As the historical Picardy was deemed too small to become a region, the French government
decided to join it with the north of Île-de-France
(specifically, Beauvaisis, Valois, Noyonnais, Laonnois, Soissonnais, Omois, to name only
the most prominent).
The name of the historical province of Picardy was given to this new region.
Thus, the Picardie region is somewhat an artificial region, with the south of the Oise
department lying inside the metropolitan area of Paris.
People in the south of Oise commute to Île-de-France for work, and hardly feel Picard (a